27 Aug

National Bank Predicts Canadian Interest Rate Cut


Posted by: John Dunford

National Bank Financial predicts that the BoC will cut interest rates next month. In a note the bank says that it would be better for the central bank to act now and withdraw some of the cut later if conditions improve, rather than wait until it’s too late. The BoC’s meeting is set for Sept. 9.

26 Aug

11-Year Low For Loonie Prompts Calls For Interest Rate Cut


Posted by: John Dunford

Analysts were talking about an increased chance of an interest rate cut Monday following the Canadian dollar’s decline to its lowest value against the greenback in 11 years. Concern about the global economy and the dollar’s weakness have led to speculation as to whether the two interest rate cuts so far this year will do enough to boost exports or if another cut to 0.25 per cent will be necessary.

24 Aug

Beware Of Early Discharge Penalties!


Posted by: John Dunford

Beware Of Early Discharge Penalties!Have you ever needed to get out of your mortgage before the maturity date? It can be a confusing and surprising experience. Don’t forget that your mortgage is a legal contract, therefore, like most contracts it is expected that it would cost you something to break it.

The lending institution will have two options to determine how much you will pay, but first they will consider the type of mortgage term you have. Is it a variable rate or a fixed rate? If it’s a variable rate, you most likely will pay three months interest max, but if your term is fixed, you will pay either the Interest Rate Differential (IRD) or three months interest, whichever is greater.

Three Months Interest Penalty

Determining how much three months interest will cost you is usually pretty simple; take the remaining mortgage balance, multiply by the interest rate, divide by 365 to get the daily amount, then multiply by 90 (for three months) and you got it. Of course, you must verify your figures with your financial institution, but you get the picture.

Interest Rate Differential

IRD is more complex. In simple terms, the financial institution wants you to pay them back for the loss in revenue that they may experience when you pay out the mortgage early. So if you have two years left on your mortgage, and they can’t loan out the same funds for at least the interest rate you are paying they will want to be compensated for their loss.

For example; if your current rate is 5% but they can currently can only loan out those same dollars at 3%, they will want you to pay them the 2% loss.

With me so far? Here it comes…

Say your rate of 5% was a discounted rate at the time received, most are, and the posted rate at the time was actually 7%, the financial institution may actually charge you the difference between the 7% and the current 3%, or something even more complicated. Could be a difference of thousands of dollars!

Most banks and financial institutions have different ways of calculating their early discharge penalties, therefore, it is imperative that you find out how they will calculate this penalty upfront before you initially sign for your mortgage, especially if you think you might need to get out early.

A mortgage specialist will take a financial planning approach to sourcing your mortgage options and will help you throughout your decision making progress, making sure that you not only consider your current situation but make sure you look at future scenarios as well.

 The good news is that we have access to lenders who will calculate your penalty using your discounted interest rate against the current discounted rate when calculating the penalty.

If you are considering paying out your mortgage early, it is vital that you contact your mortgage specialist or financial institution to obtain a written calculation on how this penalty will be calculated before finalizing your plans. Knowing the costs prior to making the final decision on a house sale/purchase or early discharge can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of stress!

Better to know up front, than being surprised later!

19 Aug

Fed Minutes Hint At Rate Hike


Posted by: John Dunford

The Fed minutes from its July 28-29 meeting, released Wednesday afternoon, reveal a rate hike is still in the cards but that a hard date has not yet been reached.

“In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress— both realized and expected—toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation,” the Fed minutes say. “This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.”

However, the Fed did say it deems it appropriate to raise the target range when further improvement in the labor market is seen, which it expects to happen in the “medium” term.

One fed policymaker voted to hike the rate, but most “judged that the conditions for policy firming had not yet been achieved, but they noted that conditions were approaching that point,” the minutes say.

That could very well be next month. Economic reports over the coming weeks will reveal clues as to whether the market can expect the first rate hike in nearly a decade.

18 Aug

Why Banks Want You To Sign the Renewal Agreement That They Mail Out To You


Posted by: John Dunford

Why banks want you to sign the renewal agreement that they mail out to you. Most banks boast a higher than 90% renewal rate on their mortgages (some even higher than 95%). Since it costs them a lot more money to acquire a new client vs. keeping an existing one, banks love the savings of a simple renewal. So you would think that they would offer you the best rate up front on your renewal as it’ll save them money in the long run? Well…not necessarily.

With renewal rates being as high as they are, there is not much incentive for banks to give their clients the best rates up front. They know that most people will stay as they know it’s easier to just sign a form as opposed to applying for a mortgage at another bank. Hence the dreaded renewal letter that gets mailed out automatically prior to your renewal date.

The banks would love nothing more than for you to just pick the term, sign the document, and send it back to them. It costs them relatively little to process it and they don’t have to follow up with you after that (other than sending you a new copy of the agreement).

Since the renewal documents are printed automatically (and yes they may include a “preferred rate” which makes it even more tempting to sign) they don’t factor in any rate specials that may occur after they’re printed.

Recently a client’s mortgage was coming up for renewal and they received the automatic renewal letter. Just calling the 1-800 number saved them an extra .10%, which on a $500,000 mortgage was an extra $500 per year in interest. Not bad for a 5 min phone call.

There are also some important questions to answer:

-are you planning on selling your home anytime over the next 5 years?

-do you need to access any equity from your home for renovations, children’s education, etc.

-what are your long term goals with the property?

These are important questions to ask as they help us suggest the right product for you.

So it’s important to treat your renewal as if you’re obtaining a new mortgage and spend some time researching your options. When I worked at the bank I was always shocked at the number of people that just signed the form and sent it back.

That’s why (in addition to the financial institution where your mortgage is now) you need to contact your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker and have them give you an unbiased view of which mortgage product is right for you, as they have access to hundreds of different financial institutions.

17 Aug

Association Lobbies For Mortgage Rule Change


Posted by: John Dunford

Brokers may have just found their campaign issue, with an industry association calling for something that could bring thousands more buyers into the market

The CMBA is advocating for 30-year amortizations for first-time homebuyers in the wake of a Conservative Party proposal to increase RRSP withdrawal limits.

“The Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association urges the implementation of policies to make housing more affordable, in particular, by increasing the amortization for first time high ratio insured home buyers to 30 years from the current 25 years,” CMBA wrote in a release. “This would decrease their monthly mortgage payments and allow them to keep their RRSP intact so it can be invested for growth and make retirement planning more effective for these buyers.”

CMBA argues the existing one million dollar cap on insured mortgages will ensure any impact the change might have would be negligible to the housing market.

And brokers are supporting the suggestion.

“Most Canadians consider home ownership a good thing and that buying a home is good for their financial health,” Geoff Lander of TMG The Mortgage Group told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “If (the regulators) have agreed to allow 30-year amortizations for certain borrowers, I don’t see why they wouldn’t allow them to help younger people get into the market.”

Those younger potential homebuyers would surely welcome any change that makes it easier for them to purchase a home. Especially considering 91 per cent of Millenials consider owning a home is an important life milestone, according to recent RateSupermarket data.

Further, 79 per cent of those people polled believe Canadian real estate is a safe investment.

That study also found that Gen-Y ers struggle with affordability: 46 per cent say they can’t currently afford to purchase a house in their region.

CMBA’s suggestion was spurred by a Conservative Party proposal to increase RRSP limits to $35,000 from $25,000. The association argues the increased the amount of RRSP funds would not lower borrowing costs due to the fact that they would still have to be paid back within 15 years.

“The increase in RRSP withdrawal limits for first time home buyers will therefore be of limited benefit to many buyers, such as younger buyers and new university graduates, and may favour the more well-heeled or mature first time buyer,” CMBA wrote.

13 Aug

Overvaluation Warning For Canada’s Hottest Market


Posted by: John Dunford

Toronto has been added to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s list of the country’s riskiest housing markets, with the insurer citing a combination of price acceleration and overvaluation.

“The rise in house prices have not been matched by growth in personal disposable income, giving rise to a modest risk of overvaluation,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist, in a press release, pointing to the Toronto market.

However, the CMHC did not indicated whether Toronto investors, agents and buyers should expect a deceleration in prices.

The CMHC’s latest House Price Analysis and Assessment (HPAA) framework, which is designed to detect the presence of problematic conditions in Canadian housing markets, also pointed to a high level of risk in Winnipeg, reflecting risks of overvaluation and overbuilding, and in Regina, reflecting price acceleration, overvaluation and overbuilding, particularly of condo apartments.

Both Winnipeg and Regina were highlighted as risky markets in CMHC’s last report, published at the end of April.

“Nationally, CMHC continues to detect a modest risk of overvaluation,” said Dugan. “However, our overall assessment of the risk of problematic conditions varies from centre to centre due to regional differences in housing markets. Imbalances in local housing markets could be resolved with further moderation in house prices or improving economic conditions.”

According to the report, the risk of problematic market conditions continues to be assessed as moderate for Montréal and Québec due to the detection of some risk of overvaluation.

In Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal, CMHC is monitoring the risk of overbuilding, with condos under construction near historical peaks. “Inventory management is therefore necessary to make sure that these condominium units under construction do not remain unsold upon completion,” added the report.

Low overall housing market risk is observed for Vancouver, as none of the individual risk factors are currently detected.


13 Aug

Housing Market Not Showing Recession Says BMO


Posted by: John Dunford

A report from the Bank of Montreal says that despite the technical recession there is no sign of that in the housing market. The mortgage lender’s analysis of the market from economist Robert Kavcic is that, although housing starts have slipped back month-over-month, the overall numbers show a healthy housing market. In a client note he noted that the numbers are “consistent with demographic demand, but inconsistent with past national recessions.

12 Aug

Ultra-Low Interest Rates Are Here To Stay Says Mortgage Lender


Posted by: John Dunford

Interest rates are set to stay at “ultra-low” levels in Canada for some months yet according to one mortgage lender. Reacting to the recent monetary policy announcement from the Fed, Canadalend.com says that it believes the US won’t raise interest rates until 2016 and its president Bob Aggarwal says that will mean good news for those with a mortgage here: “I expect that Canada’s fixed and variable mortgage rates will stay at ultra-low levels for the foreseeable future.”